Ashbourne Office is a two-and-a-half storey, wooden mercantile building with a steeply pitched gable roof. Constructed in the late 1800s, it is located next to Ashbourne Shop, a similarly styled building, on Main Street in Twillingate, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Ashbourne Office has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Twillingate due to its historic, aesthetic and cultural value.
Ashbourne Office has historic value due to its rarity, age and association with the Ashbourne family. The Office was built around the late 1800s and is a rare, extant example of a mercantile building in outport Newfoundland. The Office was an essential component of Ashbourne’s Limited’s fish, sealing and retail business. The Ashbournes owned and outfitted schooners for the Labrador fishery, exported fish and seal products and sold a variety of consumer goods, including dry goods, coal, building supplies, dynamite and caskets. The Ashbourne buildings, which include the Office and neighbouring Ashbourne Shop, speak to a time when Twillingate was the economic hub of Notre Dame Bay and its merchants conducted lucrative local and international trade.
Ashbourne Office has further historic value due to its association with the Ashbourne family, in particular William Ashbourne and his son Thomas. William Ashbourne oversaw Ashbourne’s Limited and in 1922, upon his death, his son Thomas Ashbourne took over the business. True to the lifestyle of the prominent outport merchant, Thomas became one of the most important members of the community in matters economic, social and political. He became a member of the House of Assembly in the 1920s, was a pro-confederate delegate to the National Convention from 1946-48, helped determine the Terms of Union for Newfoundland’s confederation with Canada, and post-confederation Ashbourne became a member of the federal House of Commons.
Ashbourne Office has aesthetic value as an excellent representative example of traditional outport mercantile construction. Built with a steeply pitched gable roof and made of wood, the main façade of the two-and-a-half storey Office is oriented towards a lane leading from Main Street. The simple, narrow wooden clapboard sheathing and slightly returned eaves speak to the utilitarian nature of the structure, as do the modest window and door trims.
Ashbourne Office has cultural value as it represents a time in Twillingate’s history when the community was a flourishing economic and social centre for the surrounding region. International business was conducted from the shores of this harbour and Ashbourne Office is a physical reminder of the prosperity of businesses involved in the fishery and related industries throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Source: Town of Twillingate Regular Council Meeting Motion 10-64 March 8, 2010.
Character Defining Elements
All those elements which represent the historic, aesthetic and cultural value of Ashbourne Office, including:
-number of storeys;
-steeply pitched gable roof;
-return on the eaves;
-cornice moulding on left gable end dividing second story from half storey;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-corner boards with pilasters;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors, and;
-massing, dimension, location and orientation of building.
Location and History
Town of Twillingate
1897 - 1897
Rectangular Long Façade